Wizarding Economics: Money in Harry Potter
Yolanda R. Carroll
Why would wizards need money? Shouldn't they be able to conjure anything and everything they need and/or want from thin air? In the Harry Potter series wizards do need money and “no” they can't simply conjure anything they want from thin air or at least they can't do it and expect the conjured items to last indefinitely. Rowling set limits on what people could and couldn't do using magic. For instance, we know via Hermione in Deathly Hallows that food cannot be conjured. On a similar note, Rowling has stated in an interview that conjured items are not permanent.
Rowling wanted and/or needed the wizarding world to parallel ours. We see and hear about wizards working. Like their muggle counterparts most wizards wouldn't work if they didn't have to. The need for money ensured that we would have wizards fulfilling all of the positions that we see them in over the course of the books.
The need for money also grounds the narrative in many ways. For instance, disparities in finances allow us to see the familiar interplay of the haves and the have-nots. The need for money also allows Malfoy to buy influence with the ministry and motivates Fred and George to go into business.
In my presentation, I will discuss why Rowling chose to have wizard's need money and how that affects the narrative. My presentation will also include some of the limits on magic especially as they relate to needing to actually purchase goods and services versus simply conjuring them from nothing.
Additionally, Rowling didn't completely invent the monetary system used in Harry Potter from scratch. She borrowed a great deal of it from the old English monetary system. Part of my proposal will include some explanation and comparison of that system to the currency system used in Harry Potter.
Yolanda Carroll has a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Political Science from Baylor University. Besides Harry Potter, she is in and has contributed to several fandoms for various animes (Japanese animation series). Yolanda has attended several Harry Potter conferences and enjoys getting together with other HP fans. She loves to travel and is learning Japanese and re-learning French. Yolanda is the proud aunt of one niece and two nephews.